Spark excitement in how you can use the canvas of a simple smoke ring to play around with Form, Stitch Pattern(s), Embellishment, Structure.
I think of lace as a fiber artist’s canvas. Allow yourself to think of adaptations and interpretations that reach beyond the bounds of traditional lace; appealing and inspiring while still based on heritage.
The simple tubular shape of the smoke ring provides excellent opportunities to feature lace designs at beginning and end of the tube and/or body of the tube.
Here are some design element variations you might look for in a smoke ring pattern, or consider if you are designing your own smoke ring —
The tube can either be of uniform circumference large enough to wear over the head (see Sizing for a Custom Fit),
OR the circumference at one end can be wider to give a broader seating upon the shoulders, then taper to the narrower circumference needed to wear over the head.
The tube can be knitted in the same repeating stitch pattern throughout, as in the Silk Smoke design above, or the beginning and ending edges treated differently.
Note that even though the Silk Smoke design above uses the same repeating stitch pattern throughout, the beginning and ending edges are scalloped — this occurs naturally as a result of the bias structure of the lace pattern stitch that is used in the design. There are no special knitting techniques needed to get the scalloped edge, making gracefully beautiful smoke rings like this approachable by even relative beginners to lace knitting.
In the Beaded Smoke Ring below, the tube begins at the lower edge with a relatively elaborate stitch pattern and ends at upper edge with simpler coordinating stitch pattern. The body is left plain.
The smoke ring tube can also be a series of pattern stitches throughout, such as in the Lace Puffs Smoke Ring below that features an interplay of positive and negative space. This smoke ring begins at the top edge with a wide band of softly textured puffs arising from a ground of laciness. The design then transitions into a wide ribbing where the double eyelets create negative space to mirror the positive space of the puffs. Finally, the knitting returns to puffs that widen at the bottom of the ring for a bit of flare.
In the Beaded Smoke Ring, the lower and upper edges are enhanced with beads that are knitted in between the picot points.
Instead of embellishing with beads in a planned way, you can also let beads randomly enhance the fabric design by using beaded accent yarn (see Tips for making the most of beaded accent yarn). In Wisps of Smoke, alternating stitch pattern bands of the design are knitted with yarn that has been plied with tiny beads pre-strung on a fine thread.
Combining Structural Elements
In the next example, the smoke ring has three elements of lace design constructed in alternating orientations of sideways and circularly:
- a strip of lace edging that is joined into a ring
- a tube knitted circularly in a simple lace pattern to length required
- a bound off edging in a decorative eyelet
I hope these examples spark excitement in how you can use the “canvas” of a simple smoke ring to play around with Form, Stitch Pattern(s), Embellishment, and Structure. Have fun!